Social and Economic Context of Wuthering Heights

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  • Created by: ssavage
  • Created on: 02-03-16 13:06

Social and Economic Context

During the time of Bronte's writing, Britain was changing massively in terms of industry.

Halifax, Yorkshire, 1834 ( Halifax, Yorkshire, 1834.

Rural areas were becoming increasingly dominated by factories, making the moors in Wuthering Heights nostalgic of the 'old England'.
British manufacturing became dominant in the world and trade and the financial sector also grew significantly,the Brontës would have been very conscious of these developments, as their village was close to the major manufacturing centres of Bradford and Halifax.
British power and influence overseas expanded; Mr Earnshaw visits Liverpool which would have been a major trading port 
The population grew enormously, from around 12 million at the time Emily Brontë was born to nearly 20 million by the time she died
This period also saw a significant shift of population from the countryside to the towns and the consequent growth of large cities.
Britain seems to have more political stability compared with surrounding European countries, including France which was going through a revolution.

Social issues of the period may not be Bronte's focus in the novel, as her writing is very personal, but they certainly do appear, with emphasis on the way norms, laws and values effect individuals.
The most obvious example of a social issue is the refusal of most characters to accept Heathcliff as an equal; even Nelly seems to struggle with this. Due to the fact that Liverpool was a main trading center, importing goods from overseas, Heathcliff would have…


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